Ziteng and Hong Kong Unison

Joint Declaration about the Marginalization of Sex workers and Racial Minorities

After the arrest of the suspects for the murders of Yuen Long and Tai Po sex workers, the Hong Kong society has made use of these unfortunate events to become another moral criticism toward sex workers and racial minorities, reflecting there is serious discrimination to these two minority groups in our society. At the same time, we have discovered that law enforcing departments do not protect the rights of the persons involved and their family members according to the law. With respect to the discriminating opinions and the protection of the rights of the people involved, we hereby declare that:

  1. The media should keep their professional practice and not to exaggerate events in their report and also de-identify the sex workers, suspects and their family members. For example, the homicide of Yuen Long and Tai Po’s sex workers are considered as individual cases. They are not connected with any racial issue and their family members. To report with exaggeration and gimmick, violating the privacy of others can only deepen the misunderstanding and discrimination of sex workers and the racial minorities and hurt the innocent family members even further.
  2. Media should not make an issue out of context like raising the doubt about whether sex workers will violate the Legislation Against Discrimination, if enacted by the government, and be arrested when they reject any south Asia customers during an interview with a sex worker. There is no connection between against racial discrimination and this tragedy here. This kind of question can only mislead the readers and the ones being interviewed about this legislation and obstruct an opening and caring attitude for the society to discuss the pros and cons of it, resulting in a loss for the society.
  3. When there is no verdict from the court, media should not have announced the verdict before the proceeding and should avoid using words like “Maniac”, etc. Negative type of gimmick may mislead the general public to severely criticize the suspects and also push the police, who are already famous for abusing their power, to further violate the rights of the suspects during the interrogation. This will obstruct the suspects to have a fair proceeding.
  4. During the investigation of the case, the police and the court should hold an equal attitude among different races and should not discriminate. The suspects are not allowed to contact any lawyer and not provided any translator initially. It is disappointing to see suspects with Hong Kong citizenship have their basic civilian rights being robbed by a government organization and the court which suppose to protect them. In fact, there are frequent unfair court cases among the sex workers and racial minorities. We will like to take this opportunity to request the higher officials in the government to review the police department thoroughly and not to turn a blind eye to any discriminating attitude toward sex workers and racial minorities and practices that violate the rights of a citizen.
  5. We are disappointed by the loose practice of protecting private information by the police. The background of the persons involved and their family members can only be used as evidence in the court but the media can report it with such a detail that made us believe there is a loophole in securing information used in court by the police. We request the police to investigate seriously this issue and protect the privacy of the persons involved and their family members in any case.
  6. The general public should maintain an objective attitude to the persons involved and their family members. Criticize without enough information and understanding can only mislead others understanding of this incident. We should also respect and care the feelings of those involved in our discussion.
  7. The society should assist minorities in solving the problem of insecure living conditions as the law has put sex workers working in a highly dangerous situation, we request the police to devise effective policy in further protecting sex workers. Protect the working rights of any individual.
  8. Also, we hope that the society can tolerate cultural disparity, to protect the rights of different people other than themselves and discriminate no more.
  9. Finally, we urge all the minorities to help and take care of each other, to fight collectively for their rights with the same spirit.

Ziteng and Hong Kong Unison
24th Mar 2008
Contact: Ziteng (Sex worker concern group) 2332 7182 Elaine Lam ziteng@hkstar.com.hk
Hong Kong Unison (Minorities concern group) 2789 3246 Fermi Wong info@unison.org.hk